Our Story - Karma

BoutiquebyMariam zardozi artisan embroidering a floral tapestry.



It started with the unexpected arrival of an unusual parcel from India.  

Inside the carefully hand stitched muslin exterior were 11 purses - a gift from my Indian guide, as a thank you for recommending him to other travelers.

A dilemma arose - I knew the guide could not afford to give such a generous gift, but neither would he accept payment from me.  What to do?  I seemingly worked around this by selling the purses and sending him the proceeds.  Done! .... Or not.... Because a month later, an even larger parcel arrived from India, containing even MORE purses.

When asked why he had not kept the money for himself, he explained  "If you give one person the money, then only one person benefits.  But if you take that money and use it to buy more purses, then all the people who make the purses and their families benefit, and you receive their blessings and thanks."

I could use some blessings and thanks, couldn't we all? I was in....

Then another unexpected event occurred - a global pandemic. The handicraft industry was severely impacted by COVID. When India closed its borders to tourists, the traditional markets for Indian handicrafts disappeared overnight.

With time, the situation became dire.  When I received word that a venerable third generation, family-run embroidery house might close, that these extraordinarily skilled artisans, some with over 30 years of embroidery expertise, were selling vegetables in the streets or working in shoe factories in order to survive, I asked how I could help. 

Their answer "Send us work."

So, if the world can not come to India, then India must go to the world. 

I created the BoutiqueByMariam website in 2020, inspired by the amazing talent and creativity of the zardozi artisans of India. I am on a mission to share the beauty and complexity of zardozi embroidery with the world. And to save this extraordinary art form from extinction for, if you lose one generation of artisans, you risk losing the entire art form. 

It gives me great joy that, because of your support through this website, the embroiderers in the atelier have now returned to work at their beloved embroidery.  And we continue to support over 100 families with donations of much needed food staples.

When you purchase an item from our artisans, you receive not only a stunning work of art that makes you feel beautiful and confident, you also receive the blessings and thanks of the artisans, for investing in their talent, for honoring their legacy, for providing their livelihood, and for ensuring the continuity of their craft. 

Karma. It is real.  Find out for yourself....